Latest weapon against identity theft is a credit report review. Huge need for credit report reviews nationwide predicted by consumer educators due to free credit reports for consumers courtesy of FACTA.
San Diego, CA - Free credit reports - when they become available in December 2004 - will be the single most popular feature of the new Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). It also provides many other new protections and rights for consumers, especially for victims of identity theft and those who are disputing inaccuracies.
Millions of consumers who access their free credit reports will need help in understanding what is in them and if there is some inaccuracies, they will need education the do-it-yourself process. Reviewing credit reports and credit scores is now more important because it can reveal areas where consumers might be paying more for credit because of a lower than deserved credit score.
About a half more million people will become victims of identity theft in 2004 and reviewing a credit report on a regular basis is the latest weapon in guarding against it and, equally important, early detection.
Financial services professionals, including credit union and banking representatives, mortgage lenders and real estate agents and also financial and insurance planners plus debt and credit counselors and even finance reps from auto dealerships.
Individuals in these professions were among the first hundred candidates for Certification as a Credit Report Reviewer (CRR). Additionally a Midwest insurance firm enrolled 35 district managers to become credit report reviewers and will eventually train many of its agents in the field to help them get up to speed with the new law.
Credit Report Review applicants complete an educational study program on the new law and after an examination become certified as a Credit Report Reviewer, by the award winning, nonprofit Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) based in San Diego, CA. The ICFE has been publishing do-it-yourself credit file correction guides for counselors and consumers for the last 12 years, updating again in March 2004.
The Credit Report Review is offered by ICFE Certified Credit Report Reviewers. "Credit report reviews should be conducted annually for the average consumer, semiannually for active credit users - those paying on three or more credit cards and/or loans per month," said Paul Richard, a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) and the Executive Director of the ICFE.
The Credit Report Reviewer Certification program, which is being considered for college credit, is endorsed by the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC). The IARFC awards 10 continuing education credits to its members who become certified.
The Certification course for FACTA 2004 includes an Independent Study Guide and 30 question Examination, two Certificates, one as a Credit Report Reviewer and one as an Identity Theft Prevention Specialist from the ICFE. Additional materials include five of the ICFE's Do-It-Yourself Credit File Correction Guides, a PowerPoint presentation on Identity Theft and an FTC booklet on Identity Theft.
The course prepares individuals to read and understand credit reports, identify errors and learn what FACTA says about how long negatives can remain on a file and importantly how guard against identity theft.
The ICFE Credit Report Certification program is $250, however a $50 introductory discount is available through June 2004. Quantity discounts and in-house certification classes are also available.